I was really looking forward to finally seeing this movie, as it stars four of my favourite ladies from Hollywood's golden years (Joan Collins, Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Elizabeth Taylor) and features a script especially tailored for the gals by Carrie Fisher ("Postcards from the Edge"). Just like that autobiographical comedy based on her relationship with mother Debbie Reynolds--ironically played by Shirley MacLaine, this story is set in the world of backstage Hollywood, and has quite a lot of bite in it's satirical view of celebrity ego.
THESE OLD BROADS is the story of three has-been actresses who are asked to reunite when their 1960's "Where the Boys Are"-knockoff movie musical suddenly becomes popular again on the revival circuit. TV execs approach Wesley Westbourne (Jonathan Silverman), a serious producer of documentaries, to convince his born-again, New Age mother Kate (Shirley MacLaine) to commit to the project. He'll have an ever harder time swaying her former co-stars Piper Grayson (Debbie Reynolds), who has retired to operate a Vegas casino stocked with old movie costumes; and Addie Holden (Joan Collins), a virtual recluse still in close contact with a jailed Mobster boyfriend.
Once the ladies are set, the fun begins! Addie's boyfriend escapes prison and suffers a fatal heart-attack in the throes of passion (an hilarious throwback to one of Ms Collins' classic "Dynasty" scenes); Piper's husband (Peter Graves) looks certain to be yet another notch on Addie's bed post, and Kate must reveal a bombshell concerning Wesley's true parentage...
Elizabeth Taylor has a small but fun role as the ladies' agent Beryl Mason, a tough-talking, pot-smoking harpy. Carrie Fisher also appears in a brief cameo. One of the best scenes sees Piper and Beryl discussing their past romance with a certain man who is none-too-subtly based on Eddie Fisher. Taylor made headlines all over the world when Eddie Fisher left his wife, Debbie Reynolds and their children--one of course being Carrie Fisher--in order to marry Liz, still mourning the death of husband Mike Todd who was a close family friend. Although the two buried the hatchet long ago, congrats to Fisher for bringing together momma Debbie and "scarlet stepmother" Liz for this lovely on-screen reconciliation.
This will be an essential purchase if you're a fan of the gals.
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About the reviewer
Byron Kolln (Byron_Kolln)
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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Debbie Reynolds's daughter--Carrie Fisher, a noted Hollywood script doctor--cowrote this television movie as a sort ofGrumpy Old Women, so the story goes. Viewed in that light, this 91-minute lark is entertaining, if frequently inane. It's the story of the professional reunion of three feuding costars (Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine, Joan Collins) after their '60s musical becomes a cult hit decades later. The fun part is the skewering of their real lives that these actresses good-humoredly allow. Reynolds plays a Vegas casino-owning diva who showcases her own talent and allows her dolt of a husband to run the business side of things--a state of affairs not too different from her real Vegas days. MacLaine offers a comic version of her legendary spiritual persona with such zingers as "My inner child is having such a tantrum." And Joan Collins makes fun of her choice of men with a mobster boyfriend instead of that litigious young husband of some years back. Elizabeth Taylor makes a goofy cameo appearance as the actresses' agent, and Fisher has a lot of fun staging a verbal catfight between the agent and Reynolds over a man named Freddie. (In real life Liz infamously stole Carrie's dad, Eddie Fisher, from then wife Debbie.) All pretty good. But why the framing with MacLaine's "adopted" son, inhabited by the unfunny Jonathan Silverman; and why the too-broadly caricatured producer? Only the daughter knows.--Kimberly Heinrichs